Up to 10 inches of rain fell across parts of the Houston metro area on Tuesday and Wednesday, which quickly created a deluge of dangerous floodwater that stranded drivers on freeways and caused severe flooding damage to homes and cars.
Harris County, which includes Houston, received up to 8.22 inches of rain over the past 48 hours.
Taylor Lake Village, a suburb south of Houston, reported the highest rainfall totals, but the areas around Webster and Clear Lake appear to be hardest hit with severe flooding.
“The water rose quickly, stranding drivers along the Gulf Freeway frontage road at NASA Road 1; even a Target store’s 18-wheeler couldn’t make it through,” reports KHOU. “Dozens of drivers left their cars in the water to seek higher ground. Some, like those who couldn’t make it to their homes via El Dorado, camped out overnight for several hours in nearby fast food restaurants.”
Peak 48-hour rain reports by county:
Polk County — 10.21 inches
Harris County — 8.22 inches
Brazoria County — 7.32 inches
Galveston County — 6.28 inches
Fort Bend County — 5.60 inches
Montgomery County — 4.0 inches
There is a little bit of silver lining to the stormy clouds — the U.S. Drought Monitor has removed Texas from the most severe drought category as of Thursday. Some parts of the state had been in “exceptional” drought since 2011.
Southern Texas is just regions in Texas and the Plains to be inundated by excessive rainfall over the past week, as deep mid-latitude troughs push east across the United States, sparking severe thunderstorms and tornado outbreaks.
One week ago, severe thunderstorms with heavy rain rumbled across Oklahoma, which triggered widespread flash flooding in the southern Oklahoma City area. The flooding became so dangerous that the National Weather Service in Norman had to issue a flash flood emergency for the first time in the history of the office. When it was all said and done, Oklahoma City ended the May 6 calendar day with 7.1 inches of rain, which blew away the old record for the date as well as the wettest day in May. It also may have broken its all-time 24-hour rainfall record, drenched by 7.98 inches of rain between 10 p.m. Tuesday to 10 p.m. on Wednesday.
The unsettled weather pattern will continue for the Plains states through Saturday. The Storm Prediction Center has issued an enhanced risk of severe storms on Friday and Saturday for South Dakota to Oklahoma.